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Spotlight on Research - Katherine Dyke

Posted on 26 May 2013

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We interview Katherine Dyke about her involvement with TS

Name

Dr Katherine Dyke

Position

Postdoctoral Research Associate

Where are you doing your research?

The University of Nottingham

What is the topic of your research?

I am interested in finding new types of treatment that can help to reduce tics, and understanding what effects these treatments have on the brain.

I am particularly interested in types of safe, non-invasive brain stimulation, and completed my PhD investigating the potential therapeutic effects of a technique called ‘transcranial Direct Current Stimulation’ or tDCS for short. My results have been a little mixed so far, but there is some evidence that repeated sessions of tDCS could reduce tics by changing the excitability of particular brain areas. This is really interesting and something that I would like to explore further. I also work with another technique called ‘Transcranial Magnetic Stimulation’ which is another form of non-invasive brain stimulation. TMS can alter the excitability of a brain area for a short time and has been found to be helpful in reducing tics. It is also a really useful technique for finding out how different areas of the brain communicate, which may be different in people with Tourette syndrome. It’s not all brain stimulation though! I am also interested in looking at what happens in the brain when people with Tourette syndrome exercise. At the University of Nottingham we have already shown that exercise can help to reduce tics, but now what we want to find out is how this works. We plan to investigate this using brain imaging methods.

 

How will this help people with TS?

The research is in its early stages, but I hope that this work will help to develop alternative options for people who would like to reduce their tics with minimal side-effects.

 

What stage of the research are you at?

I am recruiting for studies using brain scanning to look at the effects of exercise on tics, and am interested in hearing from anyone who would like to take part in studies using tDCS or TMS.

 

What will happen next in the study?

In the exercise study we would like to scan people before and after exercise to see what happens in the brain and how much tics are reduced. This will help us to understand the specific benefits exercise has for people with Tourette syndrome. I would also love to hear from people interested in tDCS, to see if we can work with them to explore this method further.

 

Why do you want to be a researcher?

Working in research gives me the freedom to make a career out of asking the question ‘why’. It’s exciting to always be doing new things, working with new techniques and being involved with something which could have a real impact. I really enjoy the challenge of research and the feeling that I am part of something that could help others.


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Spotlight on Research - Katherine Dyke

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